Charity shops change amid economic squeeze

Charity shops
Image caption Charity shops, like other retailers, have needed to adapt to the economic climate

A charity has turned to opening larger furniture and electrical shops to build profits despite the economic climate.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said that like-for-like sales in shops were flat in the year to April compared with the previous 12 months.

But it opened 36 new shops, including 16 larger stores, to push up retail profits by 8%.

The figures come after Oxfam blamed the economic climate for a 9.9% drop in net income from shops.

Pressure on donations

The BHF said that its retail profits had risen to £31.1m for the year. It said the majority of profit growth had come by opening new stores to bring its total to 738, including 165 electrical and furniture stores. Ten years ago, the charity had profits of £8m.

Donations have been static, despite the economic situation putting pressure on the likelihood of people taking unwanted items into stores.

The charity said it had worked hard on encouraging donations, including linking up with a furniture retailer.

Oxfam recently reported that net income from shops had dropped in the last financial year, as had donations, describing it as a "tough year financially".

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